Now this is a real story of rags to riches and it’s going to make you want to hunt the oceans for a substance you thought you’d never ever want to come in contact with—whale vomit.
Narong Phetcharaj, a fisherman in the southern Thai province of Surat Thani, probably did not expect that something a whale regurgitated would make him a rich man, but that’s exactly what happened. He discovered a piece of ambergris, a substance that a whale vomits, on the edge of a beach on 27 September.
What is ambergris?
Ambergris is the result of an intestinal concretion of the sperm whale which they then spit out. It’s an incredibly fragrant, solid, fatty, flammable material that is used in the manufacturing of perfume. According to the Natural History Museum, when the vomit is dried out it has a scent that is described as ‘musky’. An odourless alcohol is also extracted from the substance which apparently increases the longevity of a perfume’s scent.
What was the estimated value of the find?
About 1.2 million dollars, according to the information relayed by the Emirati media outlet, The National.
After discovering the huge mass on a beach, the 56-year-old fisherman took it to the experts at Prince of Songkla University to have it analysed and authenticated and they confirmed that it was definitely the real thing. Phetcharaj told The National:
None of the villagers have ever seen or touched a real whale ambergris and that's why everyone was happy.
He is now hoping to sell the prize for a handsome sum. He said:
I'm so excited, I don't know what to do. I intend to sell the ambergris because I have already received a certificate to prove that it is real.
If I can get a good price, I will retire from fishing and throw a party for my friends.
Phetcharaj is not the only Thai to have stumbled across a jackpot on the beach. In 2020, another fisherman had discovered a heap that weighed a whopping 100 kilos!